As a change of pace for our sprint retrospective, I decided to try a little experiment using the "Deep Sea Adventure " game. In this little table-top game, each player is a diver trying to grab as much treasure as they can, being sure to make it back to the submarine before the oxygen supply runs out.
We played four rounds. We varied a bit from the actual rules by returning all retrieved treasures back to the initial start configuration, so that each round was like the start of a new game.
First, we played one round of the game as it would normally be played, with every player for himself. This provided everyone a chance to get a feel for how the game works, and how the greedier you get, the faster you use up the available oxygen supply.
After that, we played three rounds in a cooperative mode, with the stated goal being to score as many total points as possible when adding our scores together. (Otherwise the rules and mechanics stayed the same.)
In the first round, no communication was allowed in terms of planning, hints, suggestions, complaints, etc.
We added a planning phase to the next round, spending a few minutes discussing what sort of strategy and tactics we would use to optimize our chances for a better score. Once we started playing though, inter-player communication was still a no-no.
In the final round, we opened up all communication channels, allowing us to not only tweak our initial strategy, but to discuss changes and adaptations at any point during the game.
While luck can play a critical role in this game at times, we managed to increase our total score each round; so in a very limited set of test data we proved that planning is better than no planning, and continual feedback and adjustment of plans are even better. 😉
If interested in learning more about the game, this Youtube video begins with a rules explanation, then they play a full game (which only takes about 17 minutes).